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Orthographic learning, fast or slow? The role of semantic training

Poster D74 in Poster Session D with Social Hour, Friday, October 7, 5:30 - 7:15 pm EDT, Millennium Hall

LIN Zhou1, Charles Perfetti; 1University of Pittsburgh, 2Learning Research and Development Center, 3Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Orthographic learning involves not only the acquisition of word form knowledge, but also the integration of newly learned word form into the mental lexicon. Previous studies trained participants by providing new word forms (derived from real “base” words) without meaning (form-only training), either in auditory or visual modality, and assessed the integration of newly learned word forms by a lexical competition effect on the real base words, e.g., a delayed response to banana when the novel trained word is “banara”, which, if integrated into the lexicon would be an orthographic neighbor of banana. Because newly experienced word forms are always associated with meanings (or contexts) of some sort, it is important to consider how semantic training (i.e., providing both word form and word meaning during training) affects orthographic learning. Previous research suggests that 24 hours of post-learning consolidation with overnight sleep is sufficient to produce lexical competition effect for words trained with form-only, but insufficient for words trained with both form and meaning (Dumay et al., 2004; Takashinma et al., 2014; but see Hawkins & Rastle, 2016). This implies that semantic training delays the integration of word form. Thus, the sufficiency of 24-hour consolidation with sleep for new word form integration appears to be essential in understanding the impact of semantic training. The present behavioral study addresses this issue by teaching adult participants four sets of new visual words with the training methods (semantic training vs. form-only training) and 24-hour consolidation with overnight sleep (day 1/remote vs. day 2/recent) factorially manipulated, and examining how the two factors affect the orthographic learning immediately after training (day 2) and one week later (day 9). All new words (e.g., banara) were derived from changing one letter of existing hermit base words (i.e., words have no orthographic neighbors in the lexicon, e.g., banana). On both day 2 and day 9, the explicit memory of orthographic knowledge was assessed with the stem completion task, where the first two letters of the newly learned words are given as cues for the recall of whole word; the integration of new words (e.g., banara) was assessed with the lexical competition effect on existing base words (e.g., banana) in the semantic judgement task, i.e., judging whether the existing base words referred to natural or artificial things. Results of the stem completion task, show that word spellings were recalled more accurately in the semantic training condition than words in form-only condition, suggesting that semantic training benefits the memory retention of word forms. Results of the semantic categorization task on existing base words (e.g., banana) show that the emergence of lexical competition effect is affected by training methods: Without additional training, only words in the semantic training condition, whether in the remote or recent conditions, produced significant lexical competition effect one week later. These results suggest that semantic training not only helps memory retention of orthographic knowledge across time, but also benefits the integration of word form into the mental lexicon.

Topic Areas: Reading, Meaning: Lexical Semantics

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