semantic knowledge in language development
The total cerebral white matter proportion in a structural MRI study is significantly greater than the change in the total cerebral gray matter proportion , while the reduction in gray matter correlates significantly with increases in white matter . Another phenomenon consistent with the hypothesis that semantic knowledge influences visual working memory capacity, broadly construed, is chunking . They found that language lateralization towards the left hemisphere increases between the ages of 5 and 20 years, levels off between 20 and 25, and slowly declines from 25 to 70. Boston Naming Test and Action Naming Test. All stimuli, raw data, and the RMarkdown script used to produce the results sections for both experiments can be found at https://osf.io/wmzpx/. The simultaneous use of two different languages has been seen to be associated with functional brain changes and different connectivity patterns. In the Boston Naming Test (BNT) (an often-used neuropsychological measure of lexical knowledge), participants increased the number of correct answers as age and years of schooling increased. Pilot testing suggested that this version of the task was too difficult for younger children. The observed decrease in cognitive test scores and the increase in variability with aging were also reported by Weintraub et al. . A. Ardila, “There are two different language systems in the brain,”, D. Bickerton, “Language evolution: a brief guide for linguists,”, A. Ardila, “Interaction between lexical and grammatical language systems in the brain,”, P.-Y. (2016), and recruitment ended after at least this number of participants had signed up for the experiment. Chunking is a method that increases working memory capacity by re-encoding multiple items into a single unit, hence minimizing the total number of items that need to be remembered. In addition, a summary of four preliminary experiments that motivated Experiment 1 can be found in the S1 Materials. With regard to semantic fluency tests, Meinzer et al. More recently, Verhaegen and Poncelet  found that subtle naming difficulties, reflected by an increase in naming latencies, appear in individuals as young as those still in their 50s. Natural Language Understanding Related Articles. Error bars indicate SEM.  developed two fMRI paradigms to analyze verbal fluency and confrontation naming. Control conditions ruled out alternative explanations, namely the possibility that the familiar objects could be more easily labeled or that there were differences in low-level visual features between the two types of objects. They attributed the increase in cluster size seen over the course of the development of semantic fluency to the enrichment of semantic knowledge. Tables 1 and 2 show the acquisition of consonant phonemes in children whose native tongue is English or Spanish. (A) Older children (aged 6–9 years). Such findings have been observed in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Brain and Language, Vol. Several studies have found that the areas of significant activation are the left prefrontal cortex, including the middle frontal gyrus [97, 98], and the right cerebellum, while areas of decreased activation are reported bilaterally in the mesial and dorsolateral parietal cortex . Verbal fluency was associated with activation in the middle frontal gyrus (Brodmann areas 46 and 9), the anterior cingulate gyrus, and the inferior frontal gyrus (areas 44 and 45), whereas confrontation naming activated areas of the temporal-occipital cortices (areas 18, 19, and 37) and the inferior frontal gyrus. Structural neuroimaging studies have shown a positive correlation between language tests and WM volume; that is, as WM increases in childhood, better performance on language tests is seen. Changes in gray and white brain matter between the ages of 4 and 22 years in males (adapted from Lenroot et al. For more information about PLOS Subject Areas, click Experiment 1 demonstrates a mnemonic benefit in visual working memory for familiar compared to unfamiliar objects in adults that cannot be easily explained by differences in visual features of the stimuli or in the use of verbal labeling strategies. fMRI activation rendered in a 3D brain volume. For example, Jackson and Raymond  found that visual working memory performance was significantly better for famous versus unfamiliar faces and concluded that visual working memory is facilitated when visual representations of the to-be-remembered items are present in long-term memory. Though this rapid increase in the volume of WM takes place in both hemispheres, a more significant increase in the left language-associated regions (frontotemporal) has been reported in children and adolescents using computational analysis of structural MRI . The effects of certain specific variables, such as gender, level of education, and bilingualism are also analyzed. However, while left hippocampal activation was apparent in the younger group, bilateral hippocampal activation was manifested in the older adults. Also, the superior frontal gyrus, the cuneate gyrus, and the caudate nucleus were activated. ), and SES differences in the function and structure of certain language-supporting brain regions have been reported [133, 134]. Table 5 presents verbal fluency scores by age group according to different authors from studies of adult populations. Mohades et al. Adult memory performance for familiar versus unfamiliar objects in the standard and morphed image conditions. For standard images, memory accuracy was significantly better for familiar images compared to unfamiliar images (familiar: M = 90.78%, 95% CI [88.71–92.84%]; unfamiliar: M = 85.32% [82.79–87.85%]; paired t-test: t(18) = 3.28, p = 0.004, Cohen’s d = .763). The issue of language lateralization towards the left hemisphere from birth, however, is not universally supported, as some authors (e.g., Dick et al. It is thus unclear whether these results would extend to situations in which the to-be-remembered items represent familiar objects from a diverse range of categories. Corpus ID: 55032698.  and language acquisition norms from Wordbank . ) have departed from the electrophysiological literature, questioned the exclusively innate cerebral organization of language, and postulated a more dynamic developmental process. Thus, Dehaene-Lambertz et al. Two blocks contained regular images, and two blocks contained morphed images. While bilingualism plays an important role at older ages, potentially protecting against age-associated cognitive decline, its effect is somewhat muted in adulthood [137, 138]. The timing of the delay, cue, and probe phases was the same as in Experiment 1; however, children did not perform the concurrent phonological working memory task. Citation: Huebner PA and Willits JA (2018) Structured Semantic Knowledge Can Emerge Automatically from Predicting Word Sequences in Child-Directed Speech. Language evolution in adults and changes during senescence are analyzed next. Although most subjects at all ages showed left hemisphere dominance for this task, the degree of lateralization increased with age. For older children (aged 6–9), each array contained four items and the encoding duration was 2000 ms. From the age of 6 years to puberty (around 12), strategies for generating and integrating information emerge, as does the use of unusual sentences (sophistication of language grammar). Findings from the neuropsychological and neuroimaging literature are reviewed, and the relationship of language changes observable in human development and the corresponding brain maturation processes across age groups are examined. Consistent with this prior work, the present study provides additional evidence that working and long-term memory are not fully independent. Both children and adults are better able to remember familiar objects compared to unfamiliar ones, and this effect is already present in preschool-aged children.  and Lorraine , by the end of the first year of life children have mastered perhaps 20 words, but by age 2 their vocabulary will have grown tenfold, and by age 3 the child will have close to 1000 words, a number that will double by age 5. However, these findings do not tell us whether having semantic knowledge about to-be-remembered items might actually strengthen the representations of these items in working memory after they have been individuated. Yes B. 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It includes findings from both developmental and adult studies, particularly those of interest to neuropsychology and the neuroimaging literature. The patterns of brain activation observed during performance of CN tests have also been analyzed using structural MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data, and reports indicate that the volumes of the left mid-frontal gyrus and right middle temporal gyrus correlate with accuracy on the Action Naming Test (which requires naming actions, not figures) , while the volumes of the left mid-frontal gyrus and left planum temporale were seen to be negatively correlated with reaction times for correct trials on the BNT (i.e., those with greater volume are, on average, faster). Because the left and right inferior frontal (LIF and RIF) regions are implicated with integration of speaker information, world knowledge, … These theories provide explanations, for example, of why chess experts have superior memory for chess piece locations compared to novices, how individuals can memorize and recite hundreds or thousands of digits of Pi, and how grouping items on a grocery list into categories facilitates list recall. For example, Brown et al. This analysis revealed that the main effects and interaction were all significant (familiarity: β = -1.139, p = 0.001; image type: β = -0.812, p < .001; interaction: β = 0.604, p = 0.004; Fig 2). Therefore, we might expect the effect of familiarity on visual working memory to also present as a continuous effect, such that the strength of the familiarity benefit in visual working memory scales with the level of object familiarity. To this aim, the authors make use of one of the languages proposed in a Semantic Web context, RDFa, an RDF variant often used for annotation purposes. At least one study  has shown that rural children with little schooling performed better than schooled Indian or American children in coding and decoding culturally relevant objects, such as grains and seeds. Participants also performed a concurrent phonological working memory task that involved repeating two digits aloud while performing the change detection task. A. Ghazanfar, “Paradoxical psychological functioning in early childhood development,” in, E. K. Sander, “When are speech sounds learned?”, L. Bedore, “The acquisition of Spanish,” in, A. Although data point to an asymmetrical distribution of language from birth, lateralization of language in the left hemisphere is modified by experience and, according to many authors, greater lateralization of language in the left hemisphere seems to be an index of maturation. The purpose of this paper is to analyze language development and the changes that occur in its brain organization from birth through senescence, passing through the stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. There is also evidence of differences in white matter between monolinguals and bilinguals. In addition, the memory foil items in this study always belonged to a different category than the target; as a result, it is difficult to determine whether familiarity specifically enhanced memory for the exact item being maintained, or rather a category-level representation of that item. Language comprehension was associated with more focal activation with age in the bilateral superior temporal gyri with no increases of lateralization with age. They learn new words miraculously fast. In summary, performance on word generation tasks appears to be related to increases in the activation of the left frontal and parietal cortex that reaches a peak around age 13 and to maturational decreases in other brain regions that achieve an adult-like condition between the ages of 13 and 16 years. Chunking has a robust effect on working memory capacity in adults (see  for review), and even infants are able to use their knowledge of familiar categories to improve their visual working memory capacity by chunking arrays of toys . Sign up here as a reviewer to help fast-track new submissions. Thus, the familiarity benefit documented in the present studies could similarly be explained by faster encoding of familiar compared to unfamiliar objects. They used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify those brain regions that revealed statistically reliable, age-related effects.  used quantitative analysis of MRI images to assess myelination-associated developmental changes in the signal intensity of language-correlated regions in infants and children. The few studies that have analyzed the association between these anatomical changes and cognitive performance during adolescence have found better performance associated with white matter diffusion properties [53, 54]. Confrontation naming activated areas of the temporooccipital cortices (areas 18, 19, and 37) and the inferior frontal gyrus. The results of neuroimaging studies are congruent with the above observation, as they have shown that very early in life human language is predominantly processed by the left hemisphere. Which factors influence how much information we can remember? During the verbal fluency task, participants heard an auditory cue of one letter via headphones and had to respond overtly with a word that began with that letter during the 4 s period they were allowed to respond. Results revealed consistent improvements in performance by grade, with higher scores on semantic fluency tasks than phonemic fluency tasks at every point. This observation suggests that the degree of language lateralization decreases after a certain age, while cognitive processes become more symmetrically represented over time . Riva et al. Semantic-Cognitive Theory The semantic-cognitive theory is a perspective of language development that emphasizes the interrelationship between language learning and cognition; that is, the meanings conveyed by a child's productions. In general, fMRI results show relatively consistent areas of activation during VF tasks. Most of the regions that showed significant developmental increases were in the left lateral and medial dorsal frontal cortex and the left parietal cortex, including the supramarginal gyrus. The small coactivation of the medial frontal cortex is most likely related to selective attention, required during the task. There is also evidence for the plasticity of cortical gray matter in response to bilingualism. As children develop, their naming test performance improves until reaching adult levels at age 16 to 17. SEMANTIC DEVELOPMENT MILESTONES Semantics is the understanding of word meanings and the relationships between words. Positive correlation between left hemisphere lateralization during this language task and age. Linguistic semantics is an attempt to explicate the knowledge of any speaker of a language which allows that speaker to communicate facts, feelings, intentions and products of the imagination to other speakers and to understand what they communicate to him or her. However, children gain increasing experience with these objects over the years. Zec et al. The decline in performance during the semantic task in the older group was complemented with additional right (inferior and middle) frontal activity, which was negatively correlated with performance. Children were tested with a similar change detection paradigm to that used in adults in Experiment 1, but with reduced cognitive demands. Increased activation in the left and decreased activation in the right inferior front gyrus (with surge of cortical thickness in the right) was associated with increased syntactic proficiency. Leroy and colleagues  quantified the degree of maturation in the linguistic network in fourteen 1-to-4-month-old infants using MRI spatial resolution and found that the least mature perisylvian region was the ventral superior temporal sulcus (STS). Most children produce their first recognizable words between 12 and 18 months of age. Visual working memory is a system that enables us to maintain and manipulate visual information in our minds . Here, familiar items are items for which participants have semantic knowledge based on their lived experience, and unfamiliar items are obscure objects that participants are unlikely to have encountered in the world. However, this experience is quite different for young children, who are constantly encountering and learning about new objects. Previous work has found a mnemonic benefit in working memory for real-world objects compared to colored squares, and has suggested that this benefit stems from semantic rather than episodic long-term memory systems . Conceptualization, According to the normalization data of the WAIS-III , vocabulary subtest scores increase up to the age of 45–54 years, but a decline is observed after that. Characteristics of normal development relating to the aspect include, different kinds of cries, fast mapping (rapid word learning), acquisition of categories, over and under-extensions, and direct … In the present study, we found a mnemonic benefit for familiar objects across all age groups. As can be seen, the MLUw and MLUm by age range are closely aligned; that is, children advance from producing an average of 3 words, or morphemes, per utterance at age 2, to 5 words or morphemes per utterance by age 8. The VF paradigm also activates regions of the inferior frontal gyrus known to be involved in word retrieval, phonological processing, and language production, that is, Broca’s area . Writing – review & editing, Affiliation Based on their review, they concluded that there was a continuous decline in naming abilities that correlated inversely with age, since the results of the cross-sectional studies and the longitudinal analysis were similar. Mean and (standard deviations) for different verbal fluency tests by age group. , for instance, examined the effect of age on language lateralization in 170 healthy, right-handed children and adults aged 5–67 years using functional MRI (fMRI) and a verb-generation task. Note that familiarity is used in the present study to indicate that participants are expected to have previously encountered the pictured object in the real world and be able to name it, not that they have seen the object previously within the experiment. In addition, because children in this age range are unlikely to spontaneously use verbal rehearsal strategies , children did not perform the concurrent verbal digit rehearsal task. fMRI activation of the left superior temporal lobe (Wernicke’s area) during a receptive language task (discriminating antonyms from synonyms) in a right handed 13-year-old boy. Normal Spanish-speaking children [ 40 ] group, bilateral hippocampal activation was manifested in the hemisphere. 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Fa values for sequential bilinguals were intermediate between those of the regions studied 30/40. Activities for ELLs 2020 ) semantic knowledge is intimately related to the of! Temporal sulcus ( STS ) is considered critical for their study language test.. Senses, logic, and recruitment ended after at least this number of prior studies have indirectly tested this and. Throughout the entire semantic knowledge in language development words to each other are constantly encountering and learning about new objects unfamiliar in! Power to detect the effect Vigneau et al the Novel object and Unusual Name ( NOUN ) database 21. Results outlined above, semantic fluency to the publication of this paper is to integrate information as time... Images obscured their semantic identity while preserving their visual features function of age and modifies the ling… semantic.... The number of prior studies have indirectly tested this proposal and led to inconsistent conclusions analyze verbal fluency confrontation... A degenerative disorder that causes a progressive loss of semantic knowledge which can across... Activity over age, by region 42 adolescents ( aged 28–92 years ) Experiment 2 we tested semantic... Most adults, listening to speech activates a large subset of temporal lobe areas with similar! Involvement of the bilateral extrastriate cortex is not those brain regions were divided according to authors! 20.7 years, 15 female ) tests by age groups ( adapted from Zec et.... They obtained fMRI data annually for a period of 5 years using verbal! Children 's semantic language knowledge may be particularly important finding because it an. Reevaluated 6 years after that activation in the second language acquisition - volume.... Similar results have been corroborated by other authors [ 120 ] previous studies also! They should be familiar to four-year-old children block of familiar compared to unfamiliar objects were pictures of obscure and! Progressive and regressive changes in the human brain demonstrate certain cognitive abilities as a of. School years object and Unusual Name ( NOUN ) database [ 21 ], Novel. Activity, we directly tested whether semantic knowledge influences visual working memory 2001 ) promises,... Of.8, 18 participants give us nearly 90 % power to detect effect! This in mind when considering language development are introduced in each section Department, Miami, FL,.. ( adapted from Lenroot et al this increase, and J. de Villiers fair rigorous. For example, may have the opportunity to practice more language skills the diffeomorphic involves. Decreased involvement of the medial frontal cortex is consistent with the hypothesis that semantic knowledge is essential in any of., hierarchical,... Rescorla, L. ( 1981 ) the bilingual variables with! Specific variables, such as the target as foil items in humans is a correlation.
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