Slide Slam G7
The development of referential and inferential naming: behavioural and spatio-temporal dynamics
Tanja Atanasova1, Marina Laganaro1; 1University of Geneva
Changes in word production occur across the lifespan. Previous studies have shown electrophysiological, temporal, and functional differences between children and adults accompanying behavioural changes in referential word production -picture-naming tasks - (Laganaro et al., 2015), with a completely adult-like pattern observed only in 17-year-old adolescents (Atanasova et al., 2020) and an intermediate pattern between children and adults in adolescents aged 14 to 16 years old. In these studies, electrophysiological changes from childhood to adulthood were circumscribed to an early time-windows, around 170 ms after the presentation of the visual referent, which has been associated with pre-linguistic (conceptual) processes in referential word production (Indefrey. 2011). The question of which pre-linguistic processes are involved in the said maturation is still to be answered, in particular because the referential task involves a specific visuo-conceptual process, which may be the one carrying the observed maturational changes. To answer this question, we turned to an inferential production task – naming from auditory definitions - , involving different conceptual to lexical processes. Behaviour and event-related potentials (ERP) in a referential word production task and an inferential word production task were recorded and compared in three groups of adolescents (respectively aged 10 to 13, 14 to 16, and 17 to 18). On both tasks, the two oldest groups of adolescents displayed similar production latencies, which were longer only for the youngest group, while accuracy was lower in the youngest adolescent group compared to the two older groups. ERP waveform analysis and topographic pattern analysis revealed significant intergroup differences in key time-windows on stimulus-locked ERPs on both tasks. The microstate analyses indicate that there are group differences in the brain activation underlying inferential word production. Thus, the changes across ages observed in a referential task are not merely linked to the visual-conceptual processes in the pre-linguistic stages of a picture naming task but are rather related to semantic processes involved in word production.