Changes in recognition memory over time: an ERP investigation into vocabulary learning.
ABSTRACT: Although it seems intuitive to assume that recognition memory fades over time when information is not reinforced, some aspects of word learning may benefit from a period of consolidation. In the present study, event-related potentials (ERP) were used to examine changes in recognition memory responses to familiar and newly learned (novel) words over time. Native English speakers were taught novel words associated with English translations, and subsequently performed a Recognition Memory task in which they made old/new decisions in response to both words (trained word vs. untrained word), and novel words (trained novel word vs. untrained novel word). The Recognition task was performed 45 minutes after training (Day 1) and then repeated the following day (Day 2) with no additional training session in between. For familiar words, the late parietal old/new effect distinguished old from new items on both Day 1 and Day 2, although response to trained items was significantly weaker on Day 2. For novel words, the LPC again distinguished old from new items on both days, but the effect became significantly larger on Day 2. These data suggest that while recognition memory for familiar items may fade over time, recognition of novel items, conscious recollection in particular may benefit from a period of consolidation.
Project description:We studied the initial acquisition and overnight consolidation of new spoken words that resemble words in the native language (L1) or in an unfamiliar, non-native language (L2). Spanish-speaking participants learned the spoken forms of novel words in their native language (Spanish) or in a different language (Hungarian), which were paired with pictures of familiar or unfamiliar objects, or no picture. We thereby assessed, in a factorial way, the impact of existing knowledge (schema) on word learning by manipulating both semantic (familiar vs unfamiliar objects) and phonological (L1- vs L2-like novel words) familiarity. Participants were trained and tested with a 12-hr intervening period that included overnight sleep or daytime awake. Our results showed (1) benefits of sleep to recognition memory that were greater for words with L2-like phonology and (2) that learned associations with familiar but not unfamiliar pictures enhanced recognition memory for novel words. Implications for complementary systems accounts of word learning are discussed.
Project description:Recognition of and memory for a spoken word can be facilitated by a prior presentation of that word spoken by the same talker. However, it is less clear whether this speaker congruency advantage generalizes to facilitate recognition of unheard related words. The present investigation employed a false memory paradigm to examine whether information about a speaker's identity in items heard by listeners could influence the recognition of novel items (critical intruders) phonologically or semantically related to the studied items. In Experiment 1, false recognition of semantically associated critical intruders was sensitive to speaker information, though only when subjects attended to talker identity during encoding. Results from Experiment 2 also provide some evidence that talker information affects the false recognition of critical intruders. Taken together, the present findings indicate that indexical information is able to contact the lexical-semantic network to affect the processing of unheard words.
Project description:Evidence suggests that new vocabulary undergoes a period of strengthening and integration offline, particularly during sleep. Practical questions remain, however, including whether learning closer to bedtime can optimize consolidation, and whether such an effect varies with vocabulary ability. To examine this, children aged 8-12-years-old (n 59) were trained on written novel forms (e.g. BANARA) in either the morning (long delay) or the evening (short delay). Immediately after training and the next day, lexical competition (a marker of integration) was assessed via speeded semantic decisions to neighbouring existing words (e.g. BANANA); explicit memory was measured via recognition and recall tasks. There were no main effects indicating performance changes across sleep for any task, counter to studies of spoken word learning. However, a significant interaction was found, such that children with poorer vocabulary showed stronger lexical competition on the day after learning if there was a short delay between learning and sleep. Furthermore, while poorer vocabulary was associated with slower novel word recognition speed before and after sleep for the long delay group, this association was only present before sleep for the short delay group. Thus, weak vocabulary knowledge compromises novel word acquisition, and when there is a longer period of post-learning wake, this disadvantage remains after a consolidation opportunity. However, when sleep occurs soon after learning, consolidation processes can compensate for weaker encoding and permit lexical integration. These data provide preliminary suggestion that children with poorer vocabulary may benefit from learning new words closer to bedtime.
Project description:Previous research has shown that familiarity with a talker's voice can improve linguistic processing (herein, "Familiar Talker Advantage"), but this benefit is constrained by the context in which the talker's voice is familiar. The current study examined how familiarity affects intelligibility by manipulating the type of talker information available to listeners. One group of listeners learned to identify bilingual talkers' voices from English words, where they learned language-specific talker information. A second group of listeners learned the same talkers from German words, and thus only learned language-independent talker information. After voice training, both groups of listeners completed a word recognition task with English words produced by both familiar and unfamiliar talkers. Results revealed that English-trained listeners perceived more phonemes correct for familiar than unfamiliar talkers, while German-trained listeners did not show improved intelligibility for familiar talkers. The absence of a processing advantage in speech intelligibility for the German-trained listeners demonstrates limitations on the Familiar Talker Advantage, which crucially depends on the language context in which the talkers' voices were learned; knowledge of how a talker produces linguistically relevant contrasts in a particular language is necessary to increase speech intelligibility for words produced by familiar talkers.
Project description:In this study, we sought to examine the effect of experimentally induced somatic pain on memory. Subjects heard a series of words and made categorization decisions in two different conditions. One condition included painful shocks administered just after presentation of some of the words; the other condition involved no shocks. For the condition that included painful stimulations, every other word was followed by a shock, and subjects were informed to expect this pattern. Word lists were repeated three times within each condition in randomized order, with different category judgments but consistent pain-word pairings. After a brief delay, recognition memory was assessed. Non-pain words from the pain condition were less strongly encoded than non-pain words from the completely pain-free condition. Recognition of pain-paired words was not significantly different than either subgroup of non-pain words. An important accompanying finding is that response times to repeated experimental items were slower for non-pain words from the pain condition, compared to non-pain words from the completely pain-free condition. This demonstrates that the effect of pain on memory may generalize to non-pain items experienced in the same experimental context.
Project description:The goal of this study was to investigate recognition memory performance across the lifespan and to determine how estimates of recollection and familiarity contribute to performance. In each of three experiments, participants from five groups from 14 up to 85 years of age (children, young adults, middle-aged adults, young-old adults, and old-old adults) were presented with high- and low-frequency words in a study phase and were tested immediately afterwards and/or after a one day retention interval. The results showed that word frequency and retention interval affected recognition memory performance as well as estimates of recollection and familiarity. Across the lifespan, the trajectory of recognition memory followed an inverse u-shape function that was neither affected by word frequency nor by retention interval. The trajectory of estimates of recollection also followed an inverse u-shape function, and was especially pronounced for low-frequency words. In contrast, estimates of familiarity did not differ across the lifespan. The results indicate that age differences in recognition memory are mainly due to differences in processes related to recollection while the contribution of familiarity-based processes seems to be age-invariant.
Project description:Theories of embodied cognition describe language processing and representation as inherently connected to the sensorimotor experiences collected during acquisition. While children grasp their world, collect bodily experiences and name them, in second language (L2), students learn bilingual word lists. Experimental evidence shows that embodiment by mean of gestures enhances memory for words in L2. However, no study has been conducted on the effects of grasping in L2. In a virtual scenario, we trained 46 participants on 18 two- and three-syllabic words of Vimmi, an artificial corpus created for experimental purposes. The words were assigned concrete meanings of graspable objects. Six words were learned audio-visually, by reading the words projected on the wall and by hearing them. Another 6 words were trained by observation of virtual objects. Another 6 words were learned by observation and additional grasping the virtual objects. Thereafter participants were subministered free, cued recall, and reaction time tests in order to assess the word retention and the word recognition. After 30 days, the recall tests were repeated remotely to assess the memory in the long term. The results show that grasping of virtual objects can lead to superior memory performance and to lower reaction times during recognition.
Project description:Previous studies have shown that prior knowledge can have both enhancing and detrimental effects on memory for relevant information. Few studies have explored the boundary conditions under which prior knowledge facilitates or interferes with memory processes. In addition, to what extent the effects of prior knowledge change over time is unclear. In this study, we addressed this question by separating category familiarity (i.e., prior conceptual knowledge) and stimulus familiarity at different retention intervals. Participants were tested with a recognition task after they learned four types of words, that is., familiar words from familiar categories (FwordFcate) and unfamiliar categories (FwordUcate) as well as unfamiliar words from familiar (UwordFcate) and unfamiliar categories (UwordUcate). The results showed a significant interaction between category familiarity and word familiarity, that is, unfamiliar words, but not familiar words, from familiar categories were remembered better than those from unfamiliar categories. The enhancing effect of category familiarity depended on the recollection process and remained stable over time. This study suggested that stimulus familiarity modulates the effects of category familiarity on memory performance, and clarified the boundary conditions for the effects of prior knowledge.
Project description:Although previous studies have shown that individuals with depressive tendencies have deficits in forgetting negative material, the detailed underlying neural mechanisms have not been elucidated. This study examined the intentional forgetting of negative and neutral material in individuals with depressive tendencies in two phases. In the study phase, the participants performed a directed forgetting task, where a total of 320 words were presented to them, each followed by an instructive cue to forget or remember the previously presented word. Subsequently, in the memory recognition test phase, the participants completed the "old or new discrimination task". The results indicated that individuals with depressive tendencies had difficulties suppressing the memory encoding of negative words, while the suppression of memory encoding of neutral words was relatively intact. Moreover, individuals with depressive tendencies displayed enhanced word-evoked P2 and late positive potential for negative items, as well as enhanced cue-evoked P1 and N2 for the negative items that were required to be forgotten, as compared to individuals without depressive tendencies. Based on these results, we propose two mechanisms that may contribute to the failure of forgetting negative material in mild depression: (1) inefficient memory suppression and early selective attention, and (2) excessive preliminary processing.
Project description:We examined whether hippocampal activity in recognition relates to the strength of the memory or to recollective experience, a subject of considerable current debate. Participants studied word pairs and then made two successive recognition decisions on each item: first on the uncued target and then on the target presented with the studied cue word. We compared recollection and familiarity patterns of activation in fMRI for these decisions. Critically, our analyses attempted in two ways to equate perceived memory strength while varying the associative information available. First, activity for targets judged familiar before cueing was contrasted with activity for the same items in the second decision as a function of whether the targets converted to recollection or remained familiar when the context cues were provided. We found increased hippocampal activity following cueing only with recollective conversion. Second, we investigated whether hippocampal activity was modulated by the rated familiarity strength of cued items or whether it increased uniquely in recollection. Hippocampal activation was not modulated parametrically by familiarity strength and recollected items were associated with greater activity relative to highly familiar items. Together, our results support the notion that it is recollection of context, rather than memory strength, that underlies hippocampal engagement at retrieval.