Correlation analysis revealed closer correlations between the BNT and semantic fluency tests than with the phonemic fluency test, as the latter proved more difficult than the former in all groups tested. Older children exhibited better memory for familiar compared to unfamiliar pictures (familiar M = 82.98% [79.87–86.09%]; unfamiliar M = 71.3% [67.55–75.06%]; t(18) = 4.49, p < .001; Cohen’s d = 1.01), as did younger children (familiar M = 84.86% [81.2–88.53]; unfamiliar M = 74.05% [69.57–78.54%]; t(24) = 3.4, p = 0.002; Cohen’s d = 0.73). Keywords: semantic development, language learning, neural networks, statistical learning. PLOS ONE promises fair, rigorous peer review, In general, fMRI results show relatively consistent areas of activation during VF tasks. Although most subjects at all ages showed left hemisphere dominance for this task, the degree of lateralization increased with age. Though this rapid increase in the volume of WM takes place in both hemispheres, a more significant increase in the left language-associated regions (frontotemporal) has been reported in children and adolescents using computational analysis of structural MRI [47]. [5] was approximately 0.9. Participants saw an array of five items (familiar or unfamiliar pictures) that appeared on the screen for 2000 ms. After a 700 ms delay, one location was cued for 500 ms, after which the probe item appeared in that location. Sauzéon et al. Next, in Experiment 2 we tested whether children would also show a mnemonic benefit for familiar compared to unfamiliar objects. [12]) have departed from the electrophysiological literature, questioned the exclusively innate cerebral organization of language, and postulated a more dynamic developmental process. Language structure is characterized by the existence of several levels of analysis [2]. To the best of our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence of bilingualism-related adaptations of white matter microstructure in the human brain. Because the left and right inferior frontal (LIF and RIF) regions are implicated with integration of speaker information, world knowledge, … Giorgio et al. Direct comparisons of the two groups confirmed significantly greater right hippocampal activation in those older adults. SEMANTIC DEVELOPMENT MILESTONES Semantics is the understanding of word meanings and the relationships between words. Thus, continuous vocabulary expansion may be responsible for the fact that adults generate more words than teenagers. Together, these results demonstrate that children, like adults, have an advantage for maintaining familiar compared to unfamiliar objects in visual working memory. These findings provide new insight into the dynamic relationship between representations held in working and long-term memory. Functional and structural MRI studies have shown that one of the most important aspects of maturation across the cerebral cortex after age 5 is the overall decrease in gray matter (GM) volume and the continuous increase in the volume of white matter (WM) [61]. Verbal fluency means and (standard deviations) for children and adolescents. Participants completed four blocks of 40 trials each. Children’s semantic development is a gradual process beginning just before the child says their first word and incudes a wide range of word types. It is important to note that this is the age at which brain activation patterns during verbal generation are lateralized in the left hemisphere [58]. (C) Morphed images. Quite often contextual cues are strong enough for the child to get the gist of an utterance without perhaps being able to understand the details. Gender differences in language abilities have been widely analyzed in the psychological and neuropsychological literature, with frequent statements that women achieve higher performance on several verbal tests (e.g., [84, 106, 107]), usually show faster language development [31, 108], and have a larger vocabulary, more accurate speech production, and greater fluency [109, 110]. Together, these findings demonstrate that semantic knowledge influences visual working memory, which suggests that the capacity of visual working memory is not fixed but instead fluctuates depending on what has to be remembered. In contrast, a negative correlation is observed between language test performance and GM volume in children, with decreased GM being associated with better performance. This review has attempted to elucidate the typical development of language in relation to typical brain development and to reach some conclusions drawn by integrating research from the fields of neuropsychology and neuroimaging. (Bloom & Lahey, 1978). We analyzed memory accuracy data for each trial using a generalized logistic mixed effects model with image familiarity (familiar or unfamiliar), image type (standard or morphed), and their interaction as fixed effects, and subject as a random effect. The present study also shows that by the time children begin preschool, they have already amassed enough familiarity with a range of objects to demonstrate this benefit. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. The pattern of activity during the phonemic fluency task was very similar, though a larger network of brain regions appeared to be activated and peak activity in several regions was more pronounced. Findings from imaging studies suggest that age-related WM changes continue beyond early childhood. Together, these results demonstrate that semantic knowledge helps infants individuate objects within an array, which is an important precursor for success on working memory change detection tasks [18]. There is also evidence for the plasticity of cortical gray matter in response to bilingualism. Bickerton [4] emphasizes that symbolic units (lexicon) and syntax (grammar) are the only real novelties in human communication and the most salient of all elements in any adequate theory of language, while Chomsky [5] has made a similar distinction when referring to the conceptual (lexical) and computational (syntactic) aspects of language. Yes [. Moreover, gender effects have been described in the reduction of gray matter and the increase in the volume of white matter that occurs in brain development during childhood and adolescence [51, 117, 118]. Several commonalities were observed between the younger and older groups in terms of the network of brain areas activated during retrieval. This benefit was observed even in preschool-aged children, which supports the idea that increases in semantic knowledge could contribute to growth in working memory capacity over development. Table 6 presents the main findings of these studies. New York: Macmillan, 1993. de Villiers, P., and J. de Villiers. Since meaning in language is so complex, there are actually different theories used within semantics, such as formal semantics, lexical semantics, and conceptual semantics. We tested two groups of children, one older (aged 6–9 years) and one younger (aged 4–5 years), to determine if this effect would be influenced by amount of exposure to the familiar objects. Figures 4, 5, and 6 present some examples of fMRI activation during different language tasks. The introduction into the world of formal instruction enriches and modifies the ling… The diffeomorphic transformation involves repeatedly applying a flow field generated from a set of two-dimensional cosine components with random phase and amplitude. Although girls also showed significant developmental changes, these modifications took place at a slower rate than that in boys. Thus, the familiarity benefit documented in the present studies could similarly be explained by faster encoding of familiar compared to unfamiliar objects. It is important to mention, however, that the proportion of this variance explained by gender is usually small [111, 112] and that in some reports the language advantage favors boys rather than girls [113]. One common distinction is that established in relation to the transmission of meaning via lexicon (vocabulary) and grammar (morphosyntax) [3]. Citation: Huebner PA and Willits JA (2018) Structured Semantic Knowledge Can Emerge Automatically from Predicting Word Sequences in Child-Directed Speech. However, children gain increasing experience with these objects over the years. Writing – review & editing, Affiliation This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Brain activation during language tasks moves from bilateral (early in life) to unilateral (young adults) and then back to bilateral (senescence). Mohades et al. [67] used a longitudinal design to obtain additional evidence for progressive and regressive changes in brain development during the school years. Digit recall accuracy was very high (M = 96.13%), which confirms that the participants were actively keeping the digits in mind while performing the change detection task. They found that the increase of WM is much more prominent than the decrease in GM, results which revealed that the most significant changes were in the body of the corpus callosum (related to the integration of sensory and motor cortical information) and the right superior region of the corona radiata (fibers projecting to and from the entire cerebral cortex, particularly the motor cortices). The idea that prior knowledge can exert an influence on working memory by providing a way to hierarchically organize the contents of memory has long been noted [2, 19]. It is reasonable to think that the development of language areas in the brain occurs parallel to the maturation of other brain areas and parallel to the increased connectivity between the temporal and frontal lobes (language areas) and other brain structures (e.g., the hippocampus) that comes with higher age. At 18 months, this gap persists; that is, while word production doubles to almost 20, comprehension reaches 60. These functional brain changes have been unified in models of reduced brain asymmetry in aging, or HAROLD (hemispheric asymmetry reduction in older adults) [80], and changes in posterior to anterior activation, or PASA [81]. Visual working memory capacity was also significantly higher for familiar compared to unfamiliar pictures in both older children (familiar: K = 2.64; unfamiliar: K = 1.7, t(18) = 4.49, p < .001; Cohen’s d = 1.01) and younger children (familiar: K = 2.09; unfamiliar: K = 1.44, t(24) = 3.53, p = .002; Cohen’s d = .73). This apparent difference in phonemic development between English and Spanish can probably be attributed to two main sources: (1) these studies focused only on the production of consonants (no vowels, see Tables 1 and 2) and (2) English has more phonemes (about 34) than Spanish (about 23). (B) Unfamiliar images. During this time, teaching at school awakens knowledge of the components of language at all levels of analysis: phonological, lexical, semantic, grammatical, and pragmatic. PLoS ONE 15(11): Semantic Development Milestones ... to categorising and description tasks Examples of age-appropriate and non-age appropriate answers Children with language and semantic delays will often have: ... or home-based program designed to equip teachers and parents of 3-4 year old children with activities that will develop semantic knowledge. Language repetition ability in illiterate individuals is equivalent to that of schooled literates as long as real, high-frequency words are presented; however, when pseudowords are used, discrepancies become apparent [125, 128, 129]. Within each block there were an equal number of same and different trials. (A) Older children (aged 6–9 years). [90] reported a decline of approximately 2% per decade in BNT scores. Also worth noting is the fact that the characteristics of language circuitry seem to be susceptible to the way in which bilinguals acquire the second language. In contrast, the total volume of WM increases continuously (see Figure 2). [5], the Novel Object and Unusual Name (NOUN) database [21], and Google image search. By age 6, children present well-developed language skills. Conceptualization, While all fluency test scores increased from age 6 to 15, the most significant changes were seen after age 12-13, a finding consistent with the hypothesis that they depend on the maturation of executive functions. Summary of main findings of brain organization of language using neuroimaging techniques from infancy to adulthood. They recruited 18 healthy, right-handed participants (14 men, 4 women) for their study. [, Mean length of utterances in words (MLUw) and morphemes (MLUm) per age group (adapted from Rice et al. One of the areas clearly associated with word production and one that requires special analysis is Broca’s area, which corresponds to Brodmann areas 44 and probably also 45, in the left hemisphere. The morphed images obscured their semantic identity while preserving their visual features. The present studies address this hypothesis and provide insight into the influence of semantic knowledge on visual working memory in both adults and children. Also, the 5th-grade children had greater semantic and phonemic fluency than those in the 3rd grade, a finding associated with an increase in the number of clusters but not cluster size. [, Average Boston naming scores by age groups (adapted from Zec et al. Images in (A) are similar to but not identical to those used in the experimenter and are for illustrative purposes only. Pujol and colleagues [35] used three-dimensional MRI to quantify myelination in the lateral part of the left hemisphere from birth to 3 years and found that it begins to increase in the sensorimotor white matter and the Heschl gyrus (primary auditory area) and later extends into the aforementioned language-related areas. The aim of this paper is to analyze the linguistic-brain associations that occur from birth through senescence. [121]), and SES differences in the function and structure of certain language-supporting brain regions have been reported [133, 134]. The introduction into the world of formal instruction enriches and modifies the linguistic input to which a child is exposed, such that the drive towards linguistic reflection permits the development of metalinguistic understanding [43]. So as to keep the overall length of the experiment suitable for children’s shorter attention spans, and because the familiarity effect was present only for the standard images in Experiment 1, we did not include blocks of morphed images in Experiment 2. No, Is the Subject Area "Vision" applicable to this article? M. D. Lezak, D. B. Howieson, E. D. Bigler, and D. Tranel, P. P. M. Hurks, D. Schrans, C. Meijs, R. Wassenberg, F. J. M. Feron, and J. Jolles, “Developmental changes in semantic verbal fluency: analyses of word productivity as a function of time, clustering, and switching,”, L. K. Obler, E. Rykhlevskaia, D. Schnyer et al., “Bilateral brain regions associated with naming in older adults,”, R. Schlösser, M. Hutchinson, S. Joseffer et al., “Functional magnetic resonance imaging of human brain activity in a verbal fluency task,”, S. Abrahams, L. H. Goldstein, A. Simmons et al., “Functional magnetic resonance imaging of verbal fluency and confrontation naming using compressed image acquisition to permit overt responses,”, K. Amunts, A. Schleicher, and K. Zilles, “Outstanding language competence and cytoarchitecture in Broca's speech region,”, M. Meinzer, T. Flaisch, L. Wilser et al., “Neural signatures of semantic and phonemic fluency in young and old adults,”, N. F. Dronkers, “A new brain region for coordinating speech articulation,”, E. Fedorenko, M. K. Behr, and N. Kanwisher, “Functional specificity for high-level linguistic processing in the human brain,”, L. A. Burton, D. Henninger, and J. Hafetz, “Gender differences in relations of mental rotation, verbal fluency, and SAT scores to finger length ratios as hormonal indexes,”, E. M. Weiss, G. Kemmler, E. A. Deisenhammer, W. W. Fleischhacker, and M. Delazer, “Sex differences in cognitive functions,”, E. Berglund, M. Eriksson, and M. Westerlund, “Communicative skills in relation to gender, birth order, childcare and socioeconomic status in 18-month-old children,”, I. E. Sommer, A. Aleman, M. Somers, M. P. Boks, and R. S. Kahn, “Sex differences in handedness, asymmetry of the planum temporale and functional language lateralization,”, J. S. Hyde and M. C. Linn, “Gender differences in verbal ability: a meta-analysis,”, M. Wallentin, “Putative sex differences in verbal abilities and language cortex: a critical review,”, A. Ardila, M. Rosselli, E. Matute, and O. Inozemtseva, “Gender differences in cognitive development,”, R. C. Gur, B. I. Turetsky, M. Matsui et al., “Sex differences in brain gray and white matter in healthy young adults: correlations with cognitive performance,”, R. A. Kanaan, M. Allin, M. Picchioni et al., “Gender differences in white matter microstructure,”, L. Tian, J. Wang, C. Yan, and Y. Courtesy Dr. Byron Bernal, Miami Children’s Hospital, Radiology Department. The transition from childhood to adolescence is characterized by both structural and functional brain changes. Zec et al. They used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify those brain regions that revealed statistically reliable, age-related effects. Experiment 1 demonstrates a mnemonic benefit in visual working memory for familiar compared to unfamiliar objects in adults that cannot be easily explained by differences in visual features of the stimuli or in the use of verbal labeling strategies. In, the semantic layer is implemented by annotating sensor data in the weather domain with spatial, temporal, and thematic semantic metadata. Beep stories task (language comprehension) and Vowel identification task (language production task). Natural Language Understanding We analyzed accuracy data using paired t-tests to compare memory accuracy for familiar versus unfamiliar pictures in older and younger children separately (Fig 3). Participants also performed a concurrent phonological working memory task that involved repeating two digits aloud while performing the change detection task. While bilingualism plays an important role at older ages, potentially protecting against age-associated cognitive decline, its effect is somewhat muted in adulthood [137, 138]. All images were trial-unique to minimize interference. In the Boston Naming Test (BNT) (an often-used neuropsychological measure of lexical knowledge), participants increased the number of correct answers as age and years of schooling increased. Kent and Luszcz [89] analyzed 22 cross-sectional studies and one longitudinal study [93] published between 1980 and 2001 on the effects of age, education, and/or gender on BNT performance in younger and older adults. We thank Evan Chuu, Jordan Eng, Brittany Tsai, Nikhila Udupa, Yvette Wu, and Christina Zhang for assistance with data collection, and Elena Galeano Weber for helpful feedback on this manuscript, as well as the participants and their families. [. Because semantics is the study of the meaning of words, the study of this discipline is closely related to language acquisition. Yes Thus, children with no formal schooling were able to separate language symbols from their physical referents and then use them to communicate accurately, though their displays of this ability depended on the cultural relevance of the stimuli used [131]. A normal newborn has only sparse neural circuitry, but as age increases there is a tremendous expansion in the complexity of those circuits that is reflected in the marked increase in the number of dendrite arbors from birth to 2 years [33]. However, if semantic knowledge about objects contributes to visual working memory capacity, then it follows that age-related increases in semantic knowledge may also contribute to improvements in visual working memory capacity over development. Therefore, we tested both younger (aged 4–5 years) and older (aged 6–9 years) children with the standard images to investigate whether the familiarity advantage documented in adults might only emerge in our older group of children, after children have acquired many years of experience with the objects. Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America. develop. Verb generation task and vowel-identification. This benefit for real-world objects when given increased encoding time was hypothesized to stem from the retrieval of semantic long-term memory representations associated with these objects, which are believed to reinforce and strengthen the representations of these objects in working memory [5]. Is the Subject Area "Working memory" applicable to this article? fMRI recording was performed simultaneously. As this literature review suggests, age constitutes the essential variable of language changes across the life span and correlates with modifications in brain activation during performance of language tasks. Structure and use of semantic knowledge in autism. Functional brain organization shows modifications with age, and these changes in brain dynamics are also associated with performance on language tasks. Together, our findings demonstrate that object familiarity influences visual working memory capacity in children and adults alike. A recent series of studies used participants’ experience with Pokémon characters to probe the effects of category expertise on visual working memory [9, 13]. Phonological fluency requires processing the phonemic characteristics of words according to a given rule (i.e., same first letter or sound), such that phonological fluency tasks demand that subjects make correct selections, inhibit intrusions, and maintain a constant level of focused attention [95]. Yes ... Word knowledge is essential in any aspect of second language acquisition (e.g., Nation, 2001). (A) Example familiar images. Kent and Luszcz [89], for example, studied an initial sample of 803 people with an average age of 76 (range 65–93) who underwent an initial examination and a follow-up evaluation 2 years later. This syntactic development is influenced by language use in home, school, and community settings and by children's semantic language knowledge. There, 90% of the children exposed to the English language from birth were able to produce 5 consonant phonemes by age 3, 4 more phonemes by age 4, and the complete phonological repertoire by age 8 [21, 22]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241110, Editor: Zaifeng Gao, Zhejiang Univeristy, CHINA, Received: March 6, 2020; Accepted: October 9, 2020; Published: November 11, 2020. The latter showed higher white matter integrity mainly in the corpus callosum that extended into the bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculi, the right inferior frontal-occipital fasciculus, and the uncinate fasciculus. A new pair of digits would then appear before the next trial. According to Fenson et al. A reliable index of language acquisition in young children and one that is described conventionally is mean length of utterance (MLU), which corresponds to the number of words in a sentence (MLUw) or the number of morphemes (MLUm) used in spontaneous conversations. In addition, these findings extend prior work showing that experts in specific domains have enhanced visual working memory for items within that domain [6, 9, 12, 13, 29, 30] by showing that such expertise effects apply to representations of everyday objects with which most adults have years of experience. On the other hand, it is possible that there is some threshold level of familiarity that must be crossed in order for a particular object to benefit from being familiar, such that the benefits of increasing familiarity are minimal once this threshold is crossed. The tremendous speed of language development observed by age 2 has been linked to structural changes in the neurons (such as the growth of axons and a larger number of dendrites) and upsurges in the myelination process that permit faster conduction. Scores on semantic fluency to the development of cognitive flexibility, Radiology Department, Miami children s... 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