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Learning and consolidation of new words: an ERP study during production of newly learned words in adults

memoryGuest researcher: Laura Kaczer
Supervisor: Niels O. Schiller 

Word learning is a fundamental building block in the acquisition of language and has often been identified as one of the distinctive components of human language. An intriguing question is how these new words consolidate their status as long term memories, becoming familiar and meaningful units stored in our brains. Consolidation is classically defined as a time-limited process of neuronal plasticity following a learning experience during which initially fragile memory traces become stabilized.

My current project is focused on the study of learning and consolidation of new words in adults, using ERPs and including the task of word production. Most studies in the area of word production use words that are already well-established in the memory system, and therefore it would be of interest to examine what happens after novel words are learned and subsequently retrieved. Thus, my objective is to analyze the dynamics of the changes in the overt production of newly learned word and address its neural correlates, in order to define the actual establishment of a new word as a long memory trace.