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postgraduate thesis: The effect of priming and verbal short-term memory on word learning in Cantonese-speaking children : a developmental study

TitleThe effect of priming and verbal short-term memory on word learning in Cantonese-speaking children : a developmental study
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):To, KSWong, AMY
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lau, H. [劉曉眉]. (2013). The effect of priming and verbal short-term memory on word learning in Cantonese-speaking children : a developmental study. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194768
AbstractIn older children and adults, words are stored in the mental lexicon in an organized manner and processed in a systematic manner on the basis of their phonological structures. The processing of novel words is therefore more efficient. Young children may process a novel word in a holistic manner, and the words are not stored phonemically distinct with one another in the mental lexicon. Priming is a method often used in spoken word recognition studies. The effects of phonological primes on word learning would reflect the organization of mental lexicon in young children. At the same time, research has shown that there is a positive correlation between phonological short-term memory (STM) and word learning. But the mechanism of how both phonological STM and mental lexicon are involved in word learning is not clear. Forty-two five- to seven-years-old children with a mean age of 6;06 (SD = 0;10) participated in a spoken word learning task. They were presented with names of 18 novel cartoon characters in nine word learning blocks and the names were novel disyllables that are consistent with the phonotactics of Cantonese. In each block, children were exposed to two novel words along with two real words as primes, with the primes phonologically similar to one novel word (“PHONOLOGICAL” condition) but not with the other one (“UNRELATED” condition). They heard each novel word twice and the primes three times. These participants also took part in nonword repetition tasks and a serial order construction task as measures of the phonological STM. A significantly positive effect of phonological priming was observed in the cartoon character naming but not in the form identification and the referent identification. Further analysis of the naming results showed that only the same-onset-and-tone primes produced a significant priming effect. Among the various short-term memory measures, only nonword repetition of pseudosyllables (syllable score) was significantly and positively correlated with the cartoon character naming score after controlling for age. The findings of the present study presented some evidence that even five-year-old Cantonese-speaking children have already organized the lexical representations in neighbourhoods so that phonological primes could exert facilitatory effects on their spoken word learning. Even this young group of children was able to process novel words in a segmental manner. But there could still be some subtle differences between the younger and older children. A word learning model which integrates the involvement of phonological STM and mental lexicon could help to explain how these two memory components contribute to word learning and the word learning differences between the younger and older children. The preliminary findings of this study provided some evidence in children’s sensitivity to the phonological structures of novel spoken words. Cantonese-speaking children, similar to English-speaking ones, are sensitive to the phonological structures of novel words and phonological primes facilitate their spoken word learning. The results of this study further suggest long-term memory and phonological short-term memory are involved at the initial stage of word learning. However, the mechanism of interactions needs to be further investigated.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectShort-term memory
Priming (Psychology)
Word recognition
Dept/ProgramSpeech and Hearing Sciences
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197524

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorTo, KS-
dc.contributor.advisorWong, AMY-
dc.contributor.authorLau, Hui-mei-
dc.contributor.author劉曉眉-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-27T23:16:41Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-27T23:16:41Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLau, H. [劉曉眉]. (2013). The effect of priming and verbal short-term memory on word learning in Cantonese-speaking children : a developmental study. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194768-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197524-
dc.description.abstractIn older children and adults, words are stored in the mental lexicon in an organized manner and processed in a systematic manner on the basis of their phonological structures. The processing of novel words is therefore more efficient. Young children may process a novel word in a holistic manner, and the words are not stored phonemically distinct with one another in the mental lexicon. Priming is a method often used in spoken word recognition studies. The effects of phonological primes on word learning would reflect the organization of mental lexicon in young children. At the same time, research has shown that there is a positive correlation between phonological short-term memory (STM) and word learning. But the mechanism of how both phonological STM and mental lexicon are involved in word learning is not clear. Forty-two five- to seven-years-old children with a mean age of 6;06 (SD = 0;10) participated in a spoken word learning task. They were presented with names of 18 novel cartoon characters in nine word learning blocks and the names were novel disyllables that are consistent with the phonotactics of Cantonese. In each block, children were exposed to two novel words along with two real words as primes, with the primes phonologically similar to one novel word (“PHONOLOGICAL” condition) but not with the other one (“UNRELATED” condition). They heard each novel word twice and the primes three times. These participants also took part in nonword repetition tasks and a serial order construction task as measures of the phonological STM. A significantly positive effect of phonological priming was observed in the cartoon character naming but not in the form identification and the referent identification. Further analysis of the naming results showed that only the same-onset-and-tone primes produced a significant priming effect. Among the various short-term memory measures, only nonword repetition of pseudosyllables (syllable score) was significantly and positively correlated with the cartoon character naming score after controlling for age. The findings of the present study presented some evidence that even five-year-old Cantonese-speaking children have already organized the lexical representations in neighbourhoods so that phonological primes could exert facilitatory effects on their spoken word learning. Even this young group of children was able to process novel words in a segmental manner. But there could still be some subtle differences between the younger and older children. A word learning model which integrates the involvement of phonological STM and mental lexicon could help to explain how these two memory components contribute to word learning and the word learning differences between the younger and older children. The preliminary findings of this study provided some evidence in children’s sensitivity to the phonological structures of novel spoken words. Cantonese-speaking children, similar to English-speaking ones, are sensitive to the phonological structures of novel words and phonological primes facilitate their spoken word learning. The results of this study further suggest long-term memory and phonological short-term memory are involved at the initial stage of word learning. However, the mechanism of interactions needs to be further investigated.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshShort-term memory-
dc.subject.lcshPriming (Psychology)-
dc.subject.lcshWord recognition-
dc.titleThe effect of priming and verbal short-term memory on word learning in Cantonese-speaking children : a developmental study-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5194768-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSpeech and Hearing Sciences-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5194768-

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