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Language acquisition

Mikhail Kissine, Elise Clin, Jessica de Villiers
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by primary pragmatic difficulties, out of step with verbal and non-verbal developmental level. This selective survey paper addresses three recent domains of research on pragmatic functions in autism. First, we provide an up-to-date discussion of how lack of sensitivity to social cues impacts early acquisition of words. Second, we review recent findings on the comprehension of non-literal language, pointing to a more refined clinical reality. Third, we describe recent developments in the study of conversation skills in autism...
October 2016: Médecine Sciences: M/S
Jennifer Mah, Heather Goad, Karsten Steinhauer
French speaking learners of English encounter persistent difficulty acquiring English [h], thus confusing words like eat and heat in both production and perception. We assess the hypothesis that the acoustic properties of [h] may render detection of this segment in the speech stream insufficiently reliable for second language acquisition. We use the mismatch negativity (MMN) in event-related potentials to investigate [h] perception in French speaking learners of English and native English controls, comparing both linguistic and non-linguistic conditions in an unattended oddball paradigm...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Kristina Kasparian, Karsten Steinhauer
First language (L1) attrition is a socio-linguistic circumstance where second language (L2) learning coincides with changes in exposure and use of the native-L1. Attriters often report experiencing a decline in automaticity or proficiency in their L1 after a prolonged period in the L2 environment, while their L2 proficiency continues to strengthen. Investigating the neurocognitive correlates of attrition alongside those of late L2 acquisition addresses the question of whether the brain mechanisms underlying both L1 and L2 processing are strongly determined by proficiency, irrespective of whether the language was acquired from birth or in adulthood...
October 14, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Chiara Gambi, Martin J Pickering, Hugh Rabagliati
One influential view of language acquisition is that children master structural generalizations by making and learning from structure-informed predictions. Previous work has shown that from 3 years of age children can use semantic associations to generate predictions. However, it is unknown whether they can generate predictions by combining these associations with knowledge of linguistic structure. We recorded the eye movements of pre-schoolers while they listened to sentences such as Pingu will ride the horse...
October 11, 2016: Cognition
Piera Filippi
Across a wide range of animal taxa, prosodic modulation of the voice can express emotional information and is used to coordinate vocal interactions between multiple individuals. Within a comparative approach to animal communication systems, I hypothesize that the ability for emotional and interactional prosody (EIP) paved the way for the evolution of linguistic prosody - and perhaps also of music, continuing to play a vital role in the acquisition of language. In support of this hypothesis, I review three research fields: (i) empirical studies on the adaptive value of EIP in non-human primates, mammals, songbirds, anurans, and insects; (ii) the beneficial effects of EIP in scaffolding language learning and social development in human infants; (iii) the cognitive relationship between linguistic prosody and the ability for music, which has often been identified as the evolutionary precursor of language...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Elise B Barbeau, Xiaoqian J Chai, Jen-Kai Chen, Jennika Soles, Jonathan Berken, Shari Baum, Kate E Watkins, Denise Klein
Research to date suggests that second language acquisition results in functional and structural changes in the bilingual brain, however, in what way and how quickly these changes occur remains unclear. To address these questions, we studied fourteen English-speaking monolingual adults enrolled in a twelve-week intensive French language-training program in Montreal. Using functional MRI, we investigated the neural changes associated with new language acquisition. The participants were scanned before the start of the immersion program and at the end of the 12 weeks...
October 7, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Connor Quinn, J S H Taylor, Matthew H Davis
Understanding the neural processes that underlie learning to read can provide a scientific foundation for literacy education but studying these processes in real-world contexts remains challenging. We present behavioural data from adult participants learning to read artificial words and name artificial objects over two days. Learning profiles and generalisation confirmed that componential learning of visual-verbal associations distinguishes reading from object naming. Functional MRI data collected on the second day allowed us to identify the neural systems that support componential reading as distinct from systems supporting holistic visual-verbal associations in object naming...
October 6, 2016: Neuropsychologia
Patrick B Murphy, Kerollos Wanis, Christopher M Schlachta, Nawar A Alkhamesi
: INTRODUCTION; Surgical management of external rectal prolapse (ERP) remains a challenge with the breadth of choices available and varies on the international, national, regional and locoregional level. Significant innovation has led to new techniques to manage ERP including changes to both abdominal and perineal approaches. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION; A systematic, English-language search of major databases was conducted from 2006-2016. From 636 papers two reviewers identified 24 studies which compared two or more surgical techniques in adult patients with rectal prolapse and reported on complications, quality of life or recurrence...
October 6, 2016: Minerva Chirurgica
Annie Bernier, Catherine A McMahon, Rachel Perrier
This study aimed to test a 5-wave sequential mediation model linking maternal mind-mindedness during infancy to children's school readiness in kindergarten through a serial mediation involving child language and effortful control in toddlerhood and the preschool years. Among a sample of 204 mother-child dyads, we assessed maternal mind-mindedness when children were aged 1 year, child expressive vocabulary at age 2, effortful control at ages 3 and 4, and finally cognitive school readiness in kindergarten. The results corroborated the model, suggesting that the prospective association between early mind-mindedness and later cognitive school readiness was entirely mediated by the proposed sequence of mediators, all of which were necessary to account for this longitudinal association...
October 6, 2016: Developmental Psychology
Mabel L Rice
Future perspectives on children with language impairments are framed from what is known about children with specific language impairment (SLI). A summary of the current state of services is followed by discussion of how these children can be overlooked and misunderstood and consideration of why it is so hard for some children to acquire language when it is effortless for most children. Genetic influences are highlighted, with the suggestion that nature plus nurture should be considered in present as well as future intervention approaches...
November 2016: Seminars in Speech and Language
Julie Hamaide, Geert De Groof, Gwendolyn Van Steenkiste, Ben Jeurissen, Johan Van Audekerke, Maarten Naeyaert, Lisbeth Van Ruijssevelt, Charlotte Cornil, Jan Sijbers, Marleen Verhoye, Annemie Van der Linden
Zebra finches are an excellent model to study the process of vocal learning, a complex socially-learned tool of communication that forms the basis of spoken human language. So far, structural investigation of the zebra finch brain has been performed ex vivo using invasive methods such as histology. These methods are highly specific, however, they strongly interfere with performing whole-brain analyses and exclude longitudinal studies aimed at establishing causal correlations between neuroplastic events and specific behavioral performances...
September 30, 2016: NeuroImage
Miao Wei, Anand A Joshi, Mingxia Zhang, Leilei Mei, Franklin R Manis, Qinghua He, Rachel L Beattie, Gui Xue, David W Shattuck, Richard M Leahy, Feng Xue, Suzanne M Houston, Chuansheng Chen, Qi Dong, Zhong-Lin Lu
In the present study, we explored how Age of Acquisition (AoA) of L2 affected brain structures in bilingual individuals. Thirty-six native English speakers who were bilingual were scanned with high resolution MRI. After MRI signal intensity inhomogeneity correction, we applied both voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and surface-based morphometry (SBM) approaches to the data. VBM analysis was performed using FSL's standard VBM processing pipeline. For the SBM analysis, we utilized a semi-automated sulci delineation procedure, registered the brains to an atlas, and extracted measures of twenty four pre-selected regions of interest...
November 2015: Journal of Neurolinguistics
Joshua K Hartshorne, Timothy J O'Donnell, Yasutada Sudo, Miki Uruwashi, Miseon Lee, Jesse Snedeker
In acquiring language, children must learn to appropriately place the different participants of an event (e.g., causal agent, affected entity) into the correct syntactic positions (e.g., subject, object) so that listeners will know who did what to whom. While many of these mappings can be characterized by broad generalizations, both within and across languages (e.g., semantic agents tend to be mapped onto syntactic subjects), not all verbs fit neatly into these generalizations. One particularly striking example is verbs of psychological state: The experiencer of the state can appear as either the subject (Agnes fears/hates/loves Bartholomew) or the direct object (Agnes frightens/angers/delights Bartholomew)...
September 28, 2016: Cognition
Hellmuth Obrig, Julia Mock, Franziska Stephan, Maria Richter, Micol Vignotto, Sonja Rossi
During early language development native phonotactics are acquired in a 'bottom-up' fashion, relying on exquisite auditory differentiation skills operational from birth. Since basic lexico-semantic abilities have been demonstrated from 6 months onwards, 'top-down' influences on phonotactic learning may complement the extraction of transitional probabilities in phonotactic learning. Such a bidirectional acquisition strategy predicts, that familiarization with (proto)words should affect processing of untrained word-forms of similar phonological structure...
September 20, 2016: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Leila M Soravia, Ariane Orosz, Simon Schwab, Masahito Nakataki, Roland Wiest, Andrea Federspiel
BACKGROUND: Imaging studies have provided evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is able to change brain activation in phobic patients in response to threatening stimuli. The changes occurred in both emotion-generating and modulatory regions. In this study, we use a data-driven approach to explore resting state cerebral blood flow (CBF) measured by arterial spin labeling (ASL), before and after CBT. METHODS: Eight female patients with spider phobia were scanned before and 1 month after an exposure-based group therapy for spider phobia...
September 2016: Brain and Behavior
Cheryl Clarkson, Flora M Antunes, Maria E Rubio
UNLABELLED: Sound deprivation by conductive hearing loss increases hearing thresholds, but little is known about the response of the auditory brainstem during and after conductive hearing loss. Here, we show in young adult rats that 10 d of monaural conductive hearing loss (i.e., earplugging) leads to hearing deficits that persist after sound levels are restored. Hearing thresholds in response to clicks and frequencies higher than 8 kHz remain increased after a 10 d recovery period. Neural output from the cochlear nucleus measured at 10 dB above threshold is reduced and followed by an overcompensation at the level of the lateral lemniscus...
September 28, 2016: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Cheng Chung Wang, Hsi-Chien Shih, Bai Chuang Shyu, Andrew Chih Wei Huang
Hemorrhagic stroke has many symptoms, including central pain, learning and memory impairments, motor deficits, language problems, emotional disturbances, and social maladjustment. Lesions of the ventral basal complex (VBC) of the thalamus elicit thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia, forming an animal model of central post-stroke pain (CPSP). However, no research has yet examined the involvement of learning and memory in CPSP using an animal model. The present study examined whether VBC lesions affect motor function, conditioned place preference (CPP; implicit memory), and spatial learning (explicit memory) in the acquisition and retrieval phases...
September 25, 2016: Behavioural Brain Research
Anthony F Morse, Angelo Cangelosi
Most theories of learning would predict a gradual acquisition and refinement of skills as learning progresses, and while some highlight exponential growth, this fails to explain why natural cognitive development typically progresses in stages. Models that do span multiple developmental stages typically have parameters to "switch" between stages. We argue that by taking an embodied view, the interaction between learning mechanisms, the resulting behavior of the agent, and the opportunities for learning that the environment provides can account for the stage-wise development of cognitive abilities...
September 28, 2016: Cognitive Science
Konstantinos Moutoussis
The purpose of the present article is to try and give a brief, scientific perspective on several issues raised in the Philosophy of Perception literature. This perspective gives a central role to the brain mechanisms that underlie perception: a percept is something that emerges when the brain is activated in a certain way and thus all perceptual experiences (whether veridical, illusory, or hallucinatory) have a common cause behind them, namely a given brain-activation pattern. What distinguishes between different cases of perception is what has caused this activation pattern, i...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Per O Folgerø, Lasse Hodne, Christer Johansson, Alf E Andresen, Lill C Sætren, Karsten Specht, Øystein O Skaar, Rolf Reber
This article explores the possibility of testing hypotheses about art production in the past by collecting data in the present. We call this enterprise "experimental art history". Why did medieval artists prefer to paint Christ with his face directed towards the beholder, while profane faces were noticeably more often painted in different degrees of profile? Is a preference for frontal faces motivated by deeper evolutionary and biological considerations? Head and gaze direction is a significant factor for detecting the intentions of others, and accurate detection of gaze direction depends on strong contrast between a dark iris and a bright sclera, a combination that is only found in humans among the primates...
2016: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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