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Language acquisition/Cognitive development

Friday, September 30th,   2011 [17:20 - 19:20]

PS_1.091 - Effects of computer-assisted comprehension training in French less skilled comprehenders in second grade

Potocki, A. , Ecalle, J. & Magnan, A.

Laboratoire EMC, Université Lumière Lyon 2

This study examines the effects of a computer-assisted learning (CAL) program designed to foster comprehension skills in comparison with a CAL program designed to foster decoding skills. In a randomized control trial design, two separate groups of less skilled comprehenders in second grade were constituted. The first group (N = 41) was trained using a software fostering several aspects of comprehension skills (literal comprehension, coherence inferencing and knowledge-based inferencing). The control group (N = 20) was trained with a software focused on grapho-syllabic process. The two groups were matched on a range of measures (age, non verbal intelligence, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, vocabulary, memory and comprehension monitoring) and trained intensively over a short period (10 h over a period of 5 weeks). A classical pre-test/training/post-test design was used. The results showed that the experimental group trained with the comprehension software outperformed the control group in reading comprehension, comprehension monitoring and vocabulary.

PS_1.092 - Developmental differences in the access of information in working memory

Lendinez Rodríguez, C. , Pelegrina López, S. , Lechuga García, M. T. . & Martín Puga, M. E.

University of Jaen

Our main aim was to investigate possible developmental differences in accessing information in WM using two different numerical updating memory tasks in which object switching was manipulated. These tasks were administered to children (8 and 11 year old), adolescents (14 year old) and younger adults (mean age=22 year). As expected, with a numerical comparison updating task, log-transformed response times decreased and recall performance increased as a function of age group. Most importantly, the time needed for object switching was longer in children than in younger adults. The second task was an updating counting task in which object switching and memory demand were manipulated. Results showed that switching cost was longer in the higher memory load condition. Moreover, previous results obtained with the comparison updating task were replicated, since switching cost decreased as a function of age group. Altogether, these results show age related trends in accessing information in WM. Their implications for understanding the development of WM in children are discussed.

PS_1.093 - Effects of computer-assisted training with syllabic units on reading in french poor readers in grade 2

Kleinsz, N. , Ecalle, J. & Magnan, A.

Laboratoire d’Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs (EMC), Université Lyon 2, Lyon, France

Numerous studies have shown that the syllable is a pertinent unit in the learning-to-read process in French. Here, we predict that grapho-syllabic training will have a positive effect on poor readers in Grade 2. The purpose was to reinforce the use of grapho-phonological relations by training children to manipulate both the spoken and orthographic syllabic unit in a word. We used a pre-test/training/post-test design comparing two groups: experimental and control. Experimental group heard a syllable, saw it on the screen and then heard a word. They had to indicate in which position (initial, median, final) the syllable appeared in the word. A program designed to foster comprehension skills was used in the control group. All children were trained intensively over a short period (10h during 5 weeks). Numerous tasks were proposed before and after the training (including silent word reading, word and pseudoword reading aloud, phonological skills and vocabulary) in order to obtain detailed profiles of poor readers who benefit from the grapho-syllabic training as opposed to those who do not benefit.

PS_1.094 - Are infants’ communicative vocalizations more speech-like than private ones?

Vivas Fernández, L. 1 , López Ornat, S. 1 , Karousou, A. 2 & Gallego, C. 1

1 Dpto. de Psicología Básica II (Procesos Cognitivos). Facultad de Psicología. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Spain.
2 Dpt. of Pre-School Education. Faculty of Educational Sciences. Democritus University of Thrace. Alexandroupoli, Greece.

Before language, infants engage in pre-speech vocalizations both in social settings and in private ones. This preliminary study focused on the differences in form characterising these types of vocalizations. To that end, the articulatory quality, number of segments, the rhythmic pattern, and F0 values of communicative and non-communicative vocalizations uttered by Spanish infants were compared. In line with classical studies on crib speech and language play, it was hypothesised that the forms of private vocalizations would be closer to the model language, than the forms of social vocalizations. The argument put forward is that in non-communicative settings all cognitive resources can be allotted to the infant´s vocal production. Videos of 7 Spanish infants aged 16 to 23 months recorded both familiar interactive situations and non-social situations. Recordings were coded following Oller’s infraphonological model, inter-judge agreement procedures were used, and the resulting data were analyzed statistically. The results did not support the hypothesis: the forms of communicative vocalizations were more advanced than those of private ones. This is discussed as probably expressing the effect of pragmatic variables. The most advanced forms were produced under the need of being understood, communicative vocalizations possibly drawing on more cognitive resources than private vocalizations.

PS_1.095 - Neural correlates reveal individual differences in processing of case marking cues in the developing brain

Knoll, L. J. , Brauer, J. & Friederici, A. D.

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Leipzig, Germany

We used functional neuroimaging to investigate the acquisition of case marking information for argument interpretation. Short sentences with manipulated word order (subject-initial or object-initial) were presented acoustically to children aged 5 to 6 years. The fMRI results showed increased activation within the posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) and the temporoparietal junction in object-initial sentences compared to subject-initial sentences. Post-hoc analysis revealed different activation patterns at the single subject level. A subgroup of the children showed increased bilateral activation within the inferior frontal gyrus (BA 47), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 46), premotor cortex (BA 6), and pSTG in object-initial sentences compared to sentences with subject-initial construction. The other subgroup showed the effect in the reverse contrast; an increased activation within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and bilateral within the premotor cortex. The neural distinctions between the subgroups are mirrored in significant performance differences in a grammar test (TROG-D). Our data suggests a broad heterogeneity within the tested children related to sentence processing. Different strategies seemed to be employed when it comes to use case marking information for sentences processing. The use of the particular strategy is not dependent on age within this age-group but rather on the children’s individual grammatical knowledge.

PS_1.096 - Does multimodal letter representation enhance the acquisition of alphabetic principle with 5-year-old children?

Labat, H. , Ecalle, J. & Magnan, A.

Laboratory of study cognitive mechanisms, EA 3082, University Lyon (2), 5 avenue Pierre Mendès France 69676 Bron, France, Tél. +33(0)4 78 77 24 52.

This study investigated the effect of five trainings on the acquisition of alphabetic principle with 5-year-old children. Children were evaluated before and after training in letter-sound knowledge, in sound-to-letter correspondences task and in reading. Children were assigned in five matching training groups which differed on the number and the nature of letter exploration. Phonological exercises were the same for each group. The three trainings on letter knowledge involved two sensory explorations: Auditory and visual, haptic or graphomotor groups. The other two trainings on letter knowledge involved three sensory explorations: Auditory-visual-haptic group or auditory-visual-graphomotor group. In all tasks, trained and untrained letters scores improved between pre and post-tests. Moreover, in the sound-to-letter correspondences and reading tasks, scores of three-modes groups increased more than scores of two-modes groups. Results were interpreted as supporting the influence of multimodal letter representation (Longcamp, et al., 2010) on knowledge development in grounded cognition area (Barsalou, 2008). References
Barsalou, L.W. (2008). Grounded cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 617-645. Longcamp, M., Lagarrigue, A., & Velay, J.-L. (2010). Contribution de la motricité graphique à la reconnaissance visuelle des lettres [Contribution of writing movements to visual recognition of letters]. Psychologie Française, 55, 181-194.

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