Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid change
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Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid change Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid change Presentation Transcript

  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid change Judith McLaughin1, Lee Osterhout2 & Albert Kim3 Brief Communication Nature Neuroscience, Volume 7 Number 7, Jul 2004123 Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Lab (University of Washington) http://faculty.washington.edu/losterho/research1.htm Whats good, if brief, twice good Presenter: Gabriel Guillen LIN 275 NEUROBIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changePopular claimAdult Second Language (L2) learning is supposed to be slower and harder thannative First Language (L1) acquisition. My claim: However, L2 instructors andlearners tend to see more progress during the first stages of learning (example:Beginning Spanish 1 compared to Beginning Spanish 3).Research QuestionHow much exposure to L2 do we need before the brain (activity) reflects thelexical status and meaning of L2 words?
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeParticipants-18 college students (mean age: 21.3 years) studying French for the first time(although they had at least one year of experience with other foreignlanguages). They also used 8 nonlearners (27.6 years) as control group.-The experiment was longitudinal: 9 months (126-150 hours of instruction).-Did they measure ERPs among learners before session 1?"By session 3, learners ERP responses were qualitatively similar to analogousnative language responses" (p704)... Remember note 5 (Chwilla et al 1995).
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid change einmal istMethod (ERPs + lexicality judgments) keinmalFirst, they used event-related potentials (ERPs).http://faculty.washington.edu/losterho/erp_tutorial.htmERPs are positive and negative electrical fluctuations related to sensory, motor,or cognitive events (stimulus). In order to represent ERPs, polarity and peaklatency (in milliseconds) are used.
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeMethod (ERPs + lexicality judgments)-As it is common practice, they focused on the N400 component. The N400peaks at 400 ms after the visual presentation of a word.-The N400 is sensitive to lexical status (word or pseudoword) and wordmeaning. It is larger for legal pseudo-words (mot, nasier), intermediate forunrelated words (maison, soif) and smaller for related words (chien, chat). mot, nasier (pseudoword)chien, chat (cat, related) maison, soif (thirst, unrelated)
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeMethod (ERPs + lexicality judgments)-They had 3 sessions during the 9 months:Session 1: 5-28 hours of instruction (mean: 14 hours)Session 2: 59-57 hours of instruction (mean: 63 hours)Session 3: 126-150 hours of instruction (mean: 138 hours)-Is it self-reported?-The stimuli were 2 lists of 112 prime-target pairs of words (40 semanticallyrelated, 40 unrelated and 32 pseudowords). chien, chat (cat, related) maison, soif (thirst, unrelated) mot, nasier (pseudoword)
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeMethod (ERPs + lexicality judgments)-The prime and target words were the most frequent? adjectives, nouns andverbs from the assigned textbook. Pseudowords came from the textbook butthey replaced one or two central letters.-The researchers had just 2 lists so they repeated lists -the list in session 1 wasrepeated for session 3.Lexical sensitivity: d-Participants were not passive. They had to make lexical decisions.Is it a word or a non-word?-They measured the lexical sensitivity from 0 (no sensitivity) to 4 (near-perfectsensitivity, recognize all or almost all of the target words). d= z (h) - z(fa)z(h) proportion of real words identified as words (hits)z(fa) proportion of non-words identifed as words (false alarms)
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeResults-The lexical sensitivity index (d) was near 0 for learners and nonlearners.Bad news? Cmon, they are still beginners...-In fact, learners show "moderate increases in sensitivity during session 2 and3" (p703).
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeResults-They did not find N400 amplitude modulationsfor nonlearners.-Personal question: why do we find negativepolarity for Session 2 and 3 and not for Session 1?-At any case, notice there is no significantdifference between pseudo-words, related wordsand unrelated words with nonlearners.
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeResults-Among learners, pseudo-words elicited larger N400than unrelated or related words.-"By session 3, learners ERP responses werequalitatively similar to analogous native languageresponses" (704)
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeResults-According to the authors, the most remarkablefinding is the N400 effect for word and pseudo-wordsafter just 14 hours of instruction.
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeResults-Is there a real correlation between N400 differences in session 1 and hours ofinstruction?-They regressed the N400 differences and d scores with the hours ofinstruction before session 1.
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeResults-Caveat. Was there a smaller mean grapheme co-ocurrence values for thepseudowords? In other words, letter and sounds combinations that were lessfrequent? They computed the frequencies and there were no bigram (2 lettertogether, i.e. th) or trigram frequency differences between words andpseudowords. There was a difference for quadragram frequency but theassociate it with targetword frequency.
  • Neural correlates of second language word learning: minimal instruction produces rapid changeConclusions-After minimal instruction, adult L2 beginners show significant knowledgeabout L2 words (word form first and word meaning after).-ERPs to words and pseudo-word show this "early learning" before the lexicalityjudgements.-Ergo... "adult L2 learning is not uniformly slow and laborious" (704). In fact,"certain aspects of the language are acquired with remarkable speed" (704).-Also, ERPs seem to be more accurate than explicit or categorical assessments,such as the lexicality judgments.-This method can be used (is used) with L1-L2 similarity, instructional methodsand age.http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=%22neural+correlates+of+second+language%22&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_ylo=2004&as_vis=0