Semantic training affects online formation of memory traces for novel morphology

Viktória Balla, Yury Shtyrov, Miika Leminen, Alina Leminen

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattningPeer review


Learning to recognize morphemic boundaries is crucial for fluent language use. The question of morphological learning is especially relevant in languages with a rich morphology, such as Finnish. Neurocognitive studies propose separate systems for decomposition and storage, which are flexibly used during the processing of polymorphemic inflections and derivations. Nevertheless, neural mechanisms underlying the acquisition of novel morphology remain unexplored. To address this question, we trained 19 native Finnish-speaking participants with new derivational suffixes through a word-picture association task. Following the short training session we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to record the participants’ brain responses to trained and untrained suffixes combined with real and pseudoword stems. We compared event-related fields recorded during the first and last 4 minutes of the passive listening task to assess the rapid online learning of novel suffixes. We found a response increase in the left frontal and temporal sensors for the trained suffixes compared with the untrained at the 55-85 ms, 100-140 ms and 180-260 ms time-windows following the suffix onset. This response increase suggests that a short semantic training of novel affixes can facilitate morphological decomposition and speed up suffix memory trace formation. At the same time, the left temporal sensors showed enhanced effects for untrained suffixes at 180-260 ms towards the end of exposure, suggesting the online formation of memory traces even without previous semantic training. Overall, our findings suggest immediate formation of memory representations for novel affixes, with a facilitative effect of semantic training on morphological parsing.
StatusPublicerad - mars 2019
MoE-publikationstypEj behörig
EvenemangCognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting 2019 - San Francisco, Förenta Staterna (USA)
Varaktighet: 22 mars 201926 mars 2019


KonferensCognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting 2019
Land/TerritoriumFörenta Staterna (USA)
OrtSan Francisco


  • 515 Psykologi
  • 6162 Kognitionsvetenskap
  • 3112 Neurovetenskaper

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