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Slide Slam G8

ERP correlates of new word with an immersive virtual reality

Slide Slam Session G, Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 6:00 - 8:00 am PDT Log In to set Timezone

Julie Franco1, Marina Laganaro1; 1Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Geneva

Learning new words is a very well-trained ability of the human cognition, which event adult speakers perform almost every day. In an educational or therapeutic context, new technologies allow to learn new words effectively. New technologies, such as virtual reality, are emerging and the range of assessment, rehabilitation or learning possibilities they offer leads to the necessity to assess their efficiency and possible advantages on the processing underlying word learning and word production. A clear advantage of virtual reality is the possibility to introduce a communicative and semantic context closer to everyday conversations (Repetto, 2014 ; in aphasia : Cao and al., 2021 ; Repetto and al. , 2020 ; in second language learning : Legault and al., 2019), while in other contexts new-word learning may rely on simple associations between an object/concept and its label, as suggested in previous word learning studies (see Fargier and Laganaro, 2020). Therefore, the aim of the present study is to determine whether new words learnt with an immersive virtual reality system lead to better lexical-semantic integration relative to learning in a standard object-word association setting both at a behavioral and electrophysiological event-related (ERP) levels. 20 young neurotypical adults leaned 2 lists of 40 new words (very low frequency real words) matched on relevant psycholinguistic variables (frequency, number of phonemes, phonological neighborhood, and so on) belonging to four semantic categories and that have been validated as unfamiliar using an online pretest (max naming rate 22%). In two different days over a week period, learning was carried out tanks to an immersive VR that consists of a market scenario in which participants have to search for objects by asking avatars or with a more standard tablet application. Behaviour and EEG recording was performed at baseline and after each learning period with a picture naming task and picture-word semantic interference task. Analyses are in progress. Behaviourally we expect better performance and larger PWI semantic interference on items learnt with immersive virtual reality. ERP signal in the picture naming task should differ qualitatively (different microstates) between the list of words learnt with VR relative to standard learning in a time-window associated with lexical-semantic processes, the former being closer to the production of well-known words. If such differences are observed source localization analysis will be performed in order to determine which brain region carry such difference. To conclude, this project will allow to better understand the benefit that virtual reality can provide in the lexical-semantic integration of new word learning field.

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