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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Neurobiology of Language (2021) 2 (1): 1–21.
Published: 01 November 2020
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AbstractView article PDF
Changes in word production occur across the lifespan. Previous studies have shown electrophysiological, temporal, and functional differences between children and adults accompanying behavioral changes in picture-naming tasks ( Laganaro, Tzieropoulos, Fraunfelder, & Zesiger, 2015 ). Thus, a shift toward adult-like processes in referential word production occurs somewhere between the ages of 13 and 20. Our aim was to investigate when and how children develop adult-like behavior and brain activation in word production. Toward this aim, performance and event-related potentials (ERP) in a referential word production task were recorded and compared for two groups of adolescents (aged 14 to 16 and 17 to 18), children (aged 10 to 13), and young adults (aged 20 to 30). Both groups of adolescents displayed adult-like production latencies, which were longer only for children, while accuracy was lower in the younger adolescents and in children, compared to adults. ERP waveform analysis and topographic pattern analysis revealed significant intergroup differences in key time-windows on stimulus-locked ERPs, both early (150–220 ms)—associated with pre-linguistic processes—and late (280–330 ms)—associated with lexical processes. The results indicate that brain activation underlying referential word production is completely adult-like in 17-year-old adolescents, whereas an intermediate pattern is still observed in adolescents aged 14 to 16 years old, although their production speed, but not their accuracy, is already adult-like.
Includes: Supplementary data