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Language acquisition/Cognitive development

Sunday, October 02nd,   2011 [18:00 - 20:00]

PS_3.087 - Adaptation to Basque of the McCarthy scales of children's abilities (MSCA)

Andiarena, A. 1 , Duñabeitia, J. A. 5 , Gorostiaga, A. 1 , Aranbarri, A. 1, 4 , Lertxundi, N. 1, 4 , Arriola, N. 1 , Basterrechea, M. 2, 3, 4 , Fano, E. 1 , Ibarluzea, J. 2, 3, 4 & Balluerka, N. 1

1 University of Basque Country, Spain
2 Public Health Division of Gipuzkoa, Basque Government, Spain
3 Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Spain
4 Health Research Institute, Biodonostia, San Sebastián, Spain
5 Basque Center of Cognition, Brain and Language, Spain

To date there has been no adapted tool in Basque for neurodevelopmental assessment of preschool children. The aim of this study is to adapt and validate the MSCA to Basque. This adaptation will allow the neuropsychological follow-up of the INMA-Gipuzkoa cohort at 4 years and 4 months in the dominant language of each child. A back-translation approach has been used, with translation of the instrument to Basque and back to Spanish and comparison of the conceptual equivalence with the original language version. A pilot has been implemented with a sample of 41 children. Based on the quantitative and qualitative analysis carried out after the pilot phase, changes have been made in some items and we have drawn up a version of the MSCA in Basque. This version is being administered individually to each children of the experimental sample.The total experimental sample will consist of 500 children, aged between 4 years and 2 months and 4 years and 8 months, of whom 60% are Basque speakers and will be given this new adapted version. In this paper, however, results will be presented for an initial sample of just 80 children.We present the preliminary results concerning the psychometric properties of the instrument.

PS_3.088 - What visual attention processing skills better predict reading speed in elementary school children?

Lobier, M. 1 , Dubois, M. 2 & Valdois, S. 1

1 Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition, CNRS UMR 5105, Université Pierre Mendès-France, Grenoble, France
2 Laboratoire Cognition, Langage et Développement, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

In this study, we explored how parallel processing skills develop and relate to reading speed from ages 7 to 11. Parallel processing skills were evaluated using two different visual attention theoretical frameworks. The Visual-Attention Span, defined as the number of individual visual elements that can be processed in parallel, was evaluated using a global report task. The Theory of Visual Attention uses performance on multi-element parallel processing to compute two parameters: visual processing speed (C) and visual apprehension span (K). Text and single word reading speed were evaluated. Results show that both the Visual-Attention Span and visual processing speed increase significantly from ages 7 to 11 contrary to visual apprehension span. Multiple-regression analyses show that the VA span relates to TVA parameters. However, once the effects of age have been taken into account, only the Visual-Attention span explains a significant part of the remaining reading speed variance. These results emphasize the role of visual attention mechanisms involved in parallel processing in reading speed. They support the relevance of reading models that include parallel processing visual attention mechanisms. Results further suggest a potential specificity of parallel processing when applied to horizontally displayed elements.

PS_3.089 - Early Use of Spanish Verbal Gender Markers to Anticipate a Referent

Arias-Trejo, N. & Alva Canto, E. A.

Facultad de Psicologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, UNAM, Mexico City

In Spanish, the most common rule for assigning gender is that for nouns ending in ‘a’, the grammatical gender is feminine and for nouns ending in ‘o’ is masculine. Toddlers are sensitive to article-noun gender agreement (Lew-Williams & Fernald, 2007). Furthermore, 30-month-olds use adjective gender-markers to infer an unnamed referent (Arias-Trejo, Falcón, & Alva-Canto, 2010). However, at present it remains unclear whether toddlers benefit from exposure to gender information contained in alternative grammatical categories such as verbs. In a preferential looking task (Golinkoff, Hirsch-Pasek, Cauley, & Gordon, 1987), we explored whether the endings ‘lo’ (masculine) and ‘la’ (feminine) at the end of imperative verbs provided toddlers with sufficient information to infer an unnamed referent. In each trial toddlers saw two different-gender pictures and heard an imperative verb with a gender marker included at the end (e.g., míralo or mírala). Thirty-six-month-olds, but not 30-month-olds, correctly inferred the unnamed referent, demonstrating an extraordinary ability to extract gender cues from different grammatical categories other than nouns to correctly infer a target. This ability might enhance a more rapid and accurate online language processing. Age differences suggest a developmental change in toddlers’ ability to capture informative gender cues in online language processing.

PS_3.090 - The acquisition of gender agreement in L3 English by Basque/Spanish bilinguals

Imaz, A. & García Mayo, M. d. P.

Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/Universidad del País Vasco, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

This paper examines the acquisition of gender agreement in English third person singular possessive pronouns (his/her) by Basque/Spanish bilinguals. Computational (White et al. 2004) and representational (Hawkins and Tsimpli, 2009) accounts within a generative framework disagree about the acquisition of uninterpretable features (i.e. grammatical gender in Spanish) by L2 learners, whereas interpretable features (i.e. gender in English and Basque) are claimed to be acquirable (Sagarra and Herschensohn, 2011). Previous research on Catalan/Spanish (Muñoz, 1991, 1994) and French learners of English (J. White and Ranta, 2002) show gender agreement errors. This study analyzed the L3 (advanced and intermediate level) English interlanguage of 34 Basque/Spanish bilinguals to investigate the possible effect of the internal structure of the determiner phrase (DP) and proficiency on gender agreement errors. Data from oral elicitation and picture description tasks revealed that (i) gender agreement errors were influenced by Spanish syntax, (ii) participants establish gender agreement with the possessee in both animate and inanimate nouns and (iii) advanced learners outperform intermediate learners, although the former still have production problems. Contrary to representational accounts our findings indicate that the acquisition of the interpretable gender feature poses persistent problems for L3 learners.

PS_3.091 - Time course of phonological and orthographic information in written word recognition in children in 5th grade:study in masked priming

Sauval, K. & Casalis, S.

University of Lille North of France

The importance of phonological coding considered under strategic control is widely recognized in the young readers. Our study aims evaluating the role of early, non-strategic phonological information in written word recognition. This study aims to reflect the time course of phonological code in French, compared to the orthographic code that occurs before the phonological information. Fifth graders had to complete a lexical decision task with masked priming. There 2 SOAs: 53 and 65 ms. Each target was paired with 4 different primes: pseudohomophone, orthographic, identification, control. The response latencies varied according to conditions and SOAs. The identity prime is the condition which reduces the processing time over the target. Orthographic and phonological codes involved so dissimilar as the SOA.

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