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Associative vocabulary learning: development and testing of two paradigms for the (re-) acquisition of action- and object-related words.

Freundlieb N, Ridder V, Dobel C, Enriquez-Geppert S, Baumgaertner A, Zwitserlood P, Gerloff C, Hummel FC, Liuzzi G - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Here, we tested the efficiency of two paradigms for vocabulary (re-) acquisition, and compared the learning of novel words for actions and objects.Performance during acquisition did not differ between action-related and object-related words (time*word category: p = 0.01), but the translation rate was clearly better for object-related (79%) than for action-related words (53%, p = 0.002).In combination with neuroimaging, neuro-stimulation or pharmacological intervention, they may well advance the understanding of language learning to optimize therapeutic strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Despite a growing number of studies, the neurophysiology of adult vocabulary acquisition is still poorly understood. One reason is that paradigms that can easily be combined with neuroscientfic methods are rare. Here, we tested the efficiency of two paradigms for vocabulary (re-) acquisition, and compared the learning of novel words for actions and objects. Cortical networks involved in adult native-language word processing are widespread, with differences postulated between words for objects and actions. Words and what they stand for are supposed to be grounded in perceptual and sensorimotor brain circuits depending on their meaning. If there are specific brain representations for different word categories, we hypothesized behavioural differences in the learning of action-related and object-related words. Paradigm A, with the learning of novel words for body-related actions spread out over a number of days, revealed fast learning of these new action words, and stable retention up to 4 weeks after training. The single-session Paradigm B employed objects and actions. Performance during acquisition did not differ between action-related and object-related words (time*word category: p = 0.01), but the translation rate was clearly better for object-related (79%) than for action-related words (53%, p = 0.002). Both paradigms yielded robust associative learning of novel action-related words, as previously demonstrated for object-related words. Translation success differed for action- and object-related words, which may indicate different neural mechanisms. The paradigms tested here are well suited to investigate such differences with neuroscientific means. Given the stable retention and minimal requirements for conscious effort, these learning paradigms are promising for vocabulary re-learning in brain-lesioned people. In combination with neuroimaging, neuro-stimulation or pharmacological intervention, they may well advance the understanding of language learning to optimize therapeutic strategies.

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Results of Paradigm A & B.A Paradigm A Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test. Subjects learn the pseudowords (correct and incorrect couplings) and retain them for several weeks. Please note that usually 50% is achieved by chance due to the design of the experiment. Translation test results are highlighted after the learning session on day 4; for single subject data see C. Reaction times within the experiment (starts 200 ms after pseudoword onset) shorten continuously as pseudowords are learned. Transitive actions are learned better. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct responses during learning. Please note that the transitive/intransitive results depict a subset of 21 items of each class. rectangles  =  overall (76 items) dots  =  transitive actions (21 items) triangles  =  intransitive actions (21 items) B Paradigm B Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test Subjects learn the pseudowords in one session of 5 blocks. Objects are learned better than actions. Reaction times in Paradigm B drop like in Paradigm A analog to the learning process. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct response during learning. Translation test results are highlighted on the right, differences between word classes are more obvious. rectangles  =  overall dots  =  objects only triangles  =  action only Legend: LS: learning-session day RS: reassessment-session day B: Block TR: translation test.
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pone-0037033-g001: Results of Paradigm A & B.A Paradigm A Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test. Subjects learn the pseudowords (correct and incorrect couplings) and retain them for several weeks. Please note that usually 50% is achieved by chance due to the design of the experiment. Translation test results are highlighted after the learning session on day 4; for single subject data see C. Reaction times within the experiment (starts 200 ms after pseudoword onset) shorten continuously as pseudowords are learned. Transitive actions are learned better. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct responses during learning. Please note that the transitive/intransitive results depict a subset of 21 items of each class. rectangles  =  overall (76 items) dots  =  transitive actions (21 items) triangles  =  intransitive actions (21 items) B Paradigm B Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test Subjects learn the pseudowords in one session of 5 blocks. Objects are learned better than actions. Reaction times in Paradigm B drop like in Paradigm A analog to the learning process. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct response during learning. Translation test results are highlighted on the right, differences between word classes are more obvious. rectangles  =  overall dots  =  objects only triangles  =  action only Legend: LS: learning-session day RS: reassessment-session day B: Block TR: translation test.

Mentions: Values of neuropsychological tests were within normal ranges for all subjects (for further details, see Table S4). The participants translated 68.8±4.3% correctly into German after the fourth training session (Fig 1A). Participants started at chance level of 50.7%±1.19% in session one (LS1) and reached a learning ratio of 87.5%±1.5% in session four (LS4) (Fig 1A).


Associative vocabulary learning: development and testing of two paradigms for the (re-) acquisition of action- and object-related words.

Freundlieb N, Ridder V, Dobel C, Enriquez-Geppert S, Baumgaertner A, Zwitserlood P, Gerloff C, Hummel FC, Liuzzi G - PLoS ONE (2012)

Results of Paradigm A & B.A Paradigm A Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test. Subjects learn the pseudowords (correct and incorrect couplings) and retain them for several weeks. Please note that usually 50% is achieved by chance due to the design of the experiment. Translation test results are highlighted after the learning session on day 4; for single subject data see C. Reaction times within the experiment (starts 200 ms after pseudoword onset) shorten continuously as pseudowords are learned. Transitive actions are learned better. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct responses during learning. Please note that the transitive/intransitive results depict a subset of 21 items of each class. rectangles  =  overall (76 items) dots  =  transitive actions (21 items) triangles  =  intransitive actions (21 items) B Paradigm B Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test Subjects learn the pseudowords in one session of 5 blocks. Objects are learned better than actions. Reaction times in Paradigm B drop like in Paradigm A analog to the learning process. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct response during learning. Translation test results are highlighted on the right, differences between word classes are more obvious. rectangles  =  overall dots  =  objects only triangles  =  action only Legend: LS: learning-session day RS: reassessment-session day B: Block TR: translation test.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3368912&req=5

pone-0037033-g001: Results of Paradigm A & B.A Paradigm A Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test. Subjects learn the pseudowords (correct and incorrect couplings) and retain them for several weeks. Please note that usually 50% is achieved by chance due to the design of the experiment. Translation test results are highlighted after the learning session on day 4; for single subject data see C. Reaction times within the experiment (starts 200 ms after pseudoword onset) shorten continuously as pseudowords are learned. Transitive actions are learned better. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct responses during learning. Please note that the transitive/intransitive results depict a subset of 21 items of each class. rectangles  =  overall (76 items) dots  =  transitive actions (21 items) triangles  =  intransitive actions (21 items) B Paradigm B Mean reaction times, learning curve and translation test Subjects learn the pseudowords in one session of 5 blocks. Objects are learned better than actions. Reaction times in Paradigm B drop like in Paradigm A analog to the learning process. Dashed lines depict reaction times, continuous lines depict correct response during learning. Translation test results are highlighted on the right, differences between word classes are more obvious. rectangles  =  overall dots  =  objects only triangles  =  action only Legend: LS: learning-session day RS: reassessment-session day B: Block TR: translation test.
Mentions: Values of neuropsychological tests were within normal ranges for all subjects (for further details, see Table S4). The participants translated 68.8±4.3% correctly into German after the fourth training session (Fig 1A). Participants started at chance level of 50.7%±1.19% in session one (LS1) and reached a learning ratio of 87.5%±1.5% in session four (LS4) (Fig 1A).

Bottom Line: Here, we tested the efficiency of two paradigms for vocabulary (re-) acquisition, and compared the learning of novel words for actions and objects.Performance during acquisition did not differ between action-related and object-related words (time*word category: p = 0.01), but the translation rate was clearly better for object-related (79%) than for action-related words (53%, p = 0.002).In combination with neuroimaging, neuro-stimulation or pharmacological intervention, they may well advance the understanding of language learning to optimize therapeutic strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Despite a growing number of studies, the neurophysiology of adult vocabulary acquisition is still poorly understood. One reason is that paradigms that can easily be combined with neuroscientfic methods are rare. Here, we tested the efficiency of two paradigms for vocabulary (re-) acquisition, and compared the learning of novel words for actions and objects. Cortical networks involved in adult native-language word processing are widespread, with differences postulated between words for objects and actions. Words and what they stand for are supposed to be grounded in perceptual and sensorimotor brain circuits depending on their meaning. If there are specific brain representations for different word categories, we hypothesized behavioural differences in the learning of action-related and object-related words. Paradigm A, with the learning of novel words for body-related actions spread out over a number of days, revealed fast learning of these new action words, and stable retention up to 4 weeks after training. The single-session Paradigm B employed objects and actions. Performance during acquisition did not differ between action-related and object-related words (time*word category: p = 0.01), but the translation rate was clearly better for object-related (79%) than for action-related words (53%, p = 0.002). Both paradigms yielded robust associative learning of novel action-related words, as previously demonstrated for object-related words. Translation success differed for action- and object-related words, which may indicate different neural mechanisms. The paradigms tested here are well suited to investigate such differences with neuroscientific means. Given the stable retention and minimal requirements for conscious effort, these learning paradigms are promising for vocabulary re-learning in brain-lesioned people. In combination with neuroimaging, neuro-stimulation or pharmacological intervention, they may well advance the understanding of language learning to optimize therapeutic strategies.

Show MeSH